Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Photograph Rare Sumatran Rabbit

30.05.2012
Using camera traps, wildlife researchers including doctoral candidate Jennifer McCarthy and environmental conservation professor Todd Fuller of the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently captured photographs of one of the rarest animals on earth, the Sumatran striped rabbit. They say it may now be found only in two remote national parks on the Indonesian island.

Their pictures and other observations are reported in the current issue of Oryx, The International Journal of Conservation. The rare rabbit was first photographed in Kerinci Seblat National Park in 1998 and has rarely been seen since.

“Whether the rabbit does occur undetected in other parks is not certain, but the importance of protecting these two known strongholds of the species is critical,” say McCarthy and colleagues. “As the human population of Sumatra rises, both parks are increasingly threatened by encroachment of villages and development of roads and infrastructure. It is important to focus conservation efforts in these areas to prevent a loss of what could be the final two populations of Sumatran striped rabbits.”

Sumatra’s Bukit Barisan Mountains, where the rabbits were captured on film, form the rugged backbone of the sixth largest island in the world. Since 2008, McCarthy and Fuller have been conducting an ecological study of the clouded leopard, Asiatic golden cat, marbled cat and leopard cats in Indonesia’s Bukit Barisan Seletan National Park.

McCarthy says, “As part of my dissertation research on the four felids, or cats, we also happened to get pictures of this very rare rabbit. There had been a few camera-trap photos seen of it before, but very, very rarely. We wanted to take these observations a step further, so we worked with colleagues from the University of Delaware and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Indonesia Program to contact every researcher we knew throughout Sumatra who was doing camera-trap research, probably 20 or 30 people. This gave us good coverage of the island.”

“We asked them about sightings of the Sumatran striped rabbit and report the results in our paper.” Overall, the conservation biologist adds, “The biggest news is that we only received recent sighting information from these two parks. For the first time, we can pinpoint that these two areas may be the only ones remaining where this species occurs. We can’t say they don’t occur elsewhere, but we are saying it’s important to preserve those areas in order to save the species.”

Habitats critical to many forms of wildlife in the parks face constant pressure from nearby coffee and palm oil plantations and from those who want logging roads built, she adds. Roads would not only destroy habitat but would allow humans, including poachers, access into relatively wild and remote places. In Sumatra between 2000 and 2009, more than 7.6 million acres (3.1 million hectares) of forest were lost to such encroachment, McCarthy says.

Much of her work was done at fairly high altitudes, in dense rainforest and rugged terrain, along volcanic ridges up to 3,900 feet (1,200 meters) high, where human encroachment is low, McCarthy says. The area has a relatively high density of wildlife, including tigers, so the investigators never travel alone and always have a park ranger with them. After walking miles to visit their cameras and snares, they roll out their sleeping bags in local villages as guests of families with no electricity, running water or modern plumbing.

McCarthy says, “It’s such a beautiful place. I hope we are able to increase conservation initiatives. At this point we really need to increase the involvement of local people in order to save these areas. There is some appreciation of the value of wildlife, especially for the tiger. But the root of the problem, the loss of habitat, hasn’t really slowed down. We feel our presence and the fact that our research supports a park ranger has helped to make a difference.”

In addition to UMass Amherst, this study was conducted with support from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, the Panthera Foundation, University of Delaware, the Small Cat Conservation Fund, the Cat Action Treasury, Idea Wild and the Clouded Leopard Project.

Jennifer McCarthy
413/695-9600
jennifermccart@gmail.com

Jennifer McCarthy | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umass.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht New exhaust gas measurement registers ultrafine pollutant particles for the first time
21.01.2020 | Technische Universität Graz

nachricht ZMT-Expert supports the implementation of the ambitious marine reserve in Palau
17.01.2020 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Engineered capillaries model traffic in tiny blood vessels

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>